Savannah State President John Wolfe to Conclude His Presidency
Atlanta — March 11, 1997
After leading Savannah State University through an era of significant change over the past four years, President John T. Wolfe has decided that he has achieved his goals for the institution. President Wolfe has informed University System Chancellor Stephen R. Portch of his desire not to be reappointed beyond the current academic year. He has accepted a position as associate vice chancellor for academic affairs in the University System of Georgia’s offices.
President Wolfe was appointed president of Savannah State on August 1, 1993, continuing a career in education that spans more than 30 years. During his tenure at the helm of the institution, he has overseen the addition of new graduate degree programs, significant capital expansion, expanded external funding, and a name change from Savannah State College to Savannah State University.
“There comes a time in every presidency when most of what can be achieved has been achieved,” Wolfe stated. “While change is never easy for any organization, I am pleased to have led an era of change at SSU. Now is the time to pass the baton on to new leadership.”
Wolfe’s key accomplishments include overseeing the highest enrollment in Savannah’s State’s history, which totalled more than 3,200 students in 1994 and 1995. He established the institution’s first Faculty Senate; and emphasized grantwriting, resulting in a 100 percent increase in funded proposals from $7.11 million to $14.3 million. Wolfe also managed facilities renovation and repairs exceeding $3.1 million.
The Board of Regents and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools approved Wolfe’s request in 1995 to offer masters degrees at the institution, enabling academic offerings to now include masters degrees in public administration and social work. In 1996, Wolfe worked with the Board of Regents and the local legislative delegation to secure General Assembly funding for a new $12 million, 5,000-seat athletic complex for the institution. Through a partnership with Chatham County officials, Wolfe also achieved the construction of a $1 million track and field facility for the institution. SSU also has a $1.75 million project, the renovation of Payne Hall, included in the Fiscal Year 1997 Budget recently approved by the legislature.
“John Wolfe has carried out an ambitious agenda that will serve Savannah State well for years to come,” Portch stated. “He has moved this institution forward, raising the expectations of students, faculty and staff, and he has acted decisively to implement change. His commitment to Savannah State has been unwavering and we are grateful for his contributions to both the institution and the System as a whole.”
Chancellor Portch said he and the Board of Regents “will proceed promptly to address the impending vacancy, since it is crucial for the institution to continue to move forward.”